On Monday, June 3, the Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes at Barnabas Health and JAG Physical Therapy hosted an educational program about the dangers of concussions in youth sports at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls.
During the event, David Diehl, Offensive Tackle for the New York Giants and two-time Super Bowl Champion, gave parents, coaches, athletic trainers and athletic administrators a first-hand perspective on concussions and its effect on professional athletes. He spoke about NFL concussion safety measures and its impact on concussion awareness in youth sports.
“Concussions can have devastating life-long impacts. As a player, you have to just stop and think – What’s more important – sitting out for the rest of the game – or sitting out for the rest of your life?” said Diehl, official spokesperson for Barnabas Health’s Morahan Center. “We all have to do our part to speak out to educate parents, coaches and athletic administrators to know and be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions,” he said. “We all have to do whatever we can to protect our youth players.”
Diehl was joined by John Gallucci, Jr., Medical Coordinator for Major League Soccer and President/Founder of JAG Physical Therapy, and Diana Toto, Program Coordinator for the Matthew J. Morahan Center who reviewed the warning signs and symptoms of concussions.
According to Gallucci, a concussion can occur as a result of a direct blow to the face, head or neck or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head. “Any child suspected of having a concussion should seek immediate medical attention or follow-up with their physician. Symptoms may worsen with increased physical or cognitive load on the brain,” he explained.
Toto reviewed the most common symptoms of concussions including: headaches or pressure in the head, nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, double or blurry vision, sensitivity to light and/or noise, feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy, concentration or memory problems, confusion, or just not feeling right.
Toto also reviewed post-concussion management and return-to-play protocols, concussion screening, and tips to help young athletes play in a safe environment.